In Conversation with Allene Yue of Self-care Support
Describe your business in a few words?
Self-care Support is an organization designed to not only provide free mental health resources to teens, but also to spread awareness for mental health through articles, small initiatives, partnerships, and teen connections.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
This year, Points of Light, the world’s largest volunteer service organization, held a Youth Pitch Competition for teens to innovate a new idea to help support any group during the pandemic. My initial thought went to my own peers, as I reflected on the impact of the pandemic on high-school students’ mental health. Having already explored numerous volunteer opportunities and even co-founding my own volunteer organization, I decided that I wanted to explore social entrepreneurship even more. I pitched my idea for Self-care Support and landed in the top 10 finalists for the competition, allowing me to use the $1000 prize grant to launch my site!
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Before launching Self-care Support, and even before launching my other organization, Empowering Youth in Business, I found a real joy in volunteering at a young age. I knew that there was no way I could drive to a physical location to volunteer each day, but once I discovered all these virtual volunteer opportunities, I absolutely fell in love! I became a tutor, teaching math, English, and even piano to younger students, and I also spent much of time (and still do) serving on the leadership team of nonprofits such as Interns 4-Good or Notelove Inc.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
As a younger child, my parents introduced me to all kinds of activities, including figure skating, tennis, piano, art, and so on. Because I had so many interests, it was hard for me to find something I really wanted to focus all my time and energy on, but once I was introduced to the world of business, I knew that I would find a real passion in being an entrepreneur.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Before the launch of my site, I created an Instagram account for my organization. Since I was already experienced in social media marketing, and especially in Instagram, I slowly grew my following and created weekly posts to keep my followers updated. Through cross-promotion, I managed to gain quite a few interested students, and once my site launched, I continued to use social media marketing to my advantage, which turned out to be incredibly effective!
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
One significant mistake I made was launching my site too early out of excitement, when I knew that the features and aesthetic could have been greatly improved upon. I ended up not loving the design at all, and completely renovated my website soon after. It definitely taught me to have more patience and to understand that in business, it’s important to be happy with the work you create before you put it out.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I would definitely say that I am most proud of my idea winning the Points of Light grant in the beginning! Without that grant, I most likely wouldn’t have the resources I needed in order to make my business a success.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
“What are three words or phrases that you would use to describe yourself?” It becomes really helpful to see how they view themselves, and it especially becomes interesting for me to compare that answer to the rest of the interview and check for inconsistencies. One interview tip I would share is to not only pay attention to the person’s experience or interview answers, but also to their behavior, because when it comes to welcoming an entirely new person to your business, you need to make sure that they would be a good fit not only for the position, but in the culture of the workplace.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
My organization actually initially launched because of the pandemic, since I had wanted to find a way to support teens during quarantine!
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We’re hoping to launch a podcast series soon, inviting speakers to talk about mental health or their personal journeys. Because my main audience is also high-school students, I may want to also start supporting these students not only in mental health aspects, but also in future or college preparation aspects. I’m hoping to also start partnering with other organizations to launch mini initiatives or workshops for other current event issues in the world.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
The biggest lesson I learned was to have patience, not only in entrepreneurial aspects, but also in daily life.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I definitely wish that I knew how important it is to find the right team members. It can be hard to say “no” to people who apply to be a part of your team if they are already close to you somehow or know you personally in general. It’s essential to welcome team members who are truly committed to your cause and will take things seriously.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Having a supportive family and just a stable support system in general has helped me greatly in achieving my goals and staying determined.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I definitely do. In fact, that is a really important message that I aim to spread with Self-care support. A lot of the time, the struggle with mental health for high-school students comes directly from spending too much time focused on tests, projects, or spending too much time trying to balance a real job and school at the same time. My best piece of advice would be to know your limits and designate a time each day for you to take a break and relax.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I plan on recording one second of my day every single day this year and compiling it all into a video!
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Use some sort of planner, whether it’s digital or on plain paper.
- Keep a clean workspace! You’d be surprised how much more motivated you can be.
- Set goals for yourself and reward yourself when you reach them!
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means that I am a role-model for other women out there looking to make a change in the world through entrepreneurship!